Yelp is an interesting review platform which can drive customers to your business. From the consumer side, it’s a source of peer generated information based solely on opinions of experiences. It doesn’t get more raw than that.
From the business side, it can keep you up at night if you get a few one star reviews. Form this viewpoint it seems easier to walk into Mordor than to get a misguided negative review suppressed or removed from Yelp.
Does Yelp Advertising Build Customers?
Case studies from around the web generally show a negative experience from advertising with Yelp. I haven’t had a client yet that I’ve pushed towards Yelp advertising. It’s simply because the possibility of showing ROI wasn’t worth putting a small business’s spend into the investment.
Toby from 39 Celsius brings out a great point in his case study when he says, “the fact that Yelp requires you to commit to an advertising contract is a big downer…”.
David Straight from E-Rehab asks the right question when he wrote, “If I am committing to spend this kind of money (i.e., $350/mo+) on marketing, is there a better use of this money doing something else?”
With these things in mind, if you are a small business thinking of doing online advertising, research other avenues like putting the spend towards doing a geo-targeted Google AdWords campaign with Call Extensions, Location Extensions, Review Extensions & Callout Extensions over spending on Yelp.
What Business is Right for Yelp Advertising?
There is no clear definable answer to Yelp advertising. In the cases where there are success stories, it seems there’s a few items that have led to this success – not just ad spend.
Businesses that are fully engaged and managing their Yelp page, and more importantly creating offerings and customer experience that will garner positive Yelp reviews may be the prime candidate to get an extra boost from a moderate spend in Yelp advertising. Before considering Yelp advertising, businesses that have had success in this paid marketing have the following items in order:
- A fully branded and built out Yelp page
- A large amount of positive reviews
- Regular, positive engagement with Yelp users leaving reviews
- A value offer for users leaving negative reviews
How Can a Business Owner Leverage Yelp?
The piece of advice I give to people who want to leverage Yelp is to be fully engaged with anyone leaving a review – especially if it’s a bad review. Melissa, owner of Cookie Confidential, a local cookie bakery that was located in Philadelphia did a great job of fielding responses to negative reviews without cheapening her brand.
Here’s some tips on engaging with positive and negative Yelp reviews.
Sometimes, there’s no winning, because customers have been given a venue to voice their opinions. Human nature is that people in general will have a louder voice when they have a complaint than a compliment.
Your focus on Yelp reviews doesn’t start and end with the positive or negative review. It starts with your products, services, and customer experience. You can’t make everyone happy all of the time. You can potentially turn a negative Yelp review into a positive experience for others who are searching for products and services through yelp.com.